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Do Bonus MQMs From Delta Credit Cards Count for Status Challenges?

June 23, 2017
3 min read
Do Bonus MQMs From Delta Credit Cards Count for Status Challenges?
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"Reader Questions" are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

Status matches and challenges are a quick way to "copy" your elite status from one airline to another, but TPG reader Tim wonders if there might be a credit card shortcut when it comes to a status challenge on Delta...

[pullquote source="TPG Reader Tim"]I'm considering doing a status match from United Platinum to Delta Platinum. Would the MQMs from the Delta Reserve Amex apply towards the required MQM for the status challenge?[/pullquote]

For folks who already have status on a competing airline but would like to switch their business to Delta, the airline offers what it calls a "status match challenge." You can match your existing elite status from one of Delta's competitors to the same elite status level on Delta (up to Platinum elite) for 90 days. After 90 days, you'll only keep your Delta status if you've earned a certain number of Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) during that timeframe — that's the "challenge" part.

Since you'll need 6,250 MQMs to maintain Silver elite status, 12,500 MQMs for Gold or 18,750 MQMs to keep Platinum, you'll have to do some flying during those 90 days. Flights on Delta planes and even partner flights that are eligible to earn MQMs and MQSs will count, so you've got some options.

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But what about the method Tim asked about? Normally another way you can earn MQMs is through the Miles Boost feature of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express. Both of these cards award extra MQMs for high levels of credit card spend, and now the Platinum Delta Amex is offering a bonus of 70,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of cardmembership.

However, this is where the bad news arrives. According to the terms and conditions of Delta's status match challenge...

MQMs/MQSs earned through other sources, including but not limited to SkyMiles Credit Cards, do not count towards the challenge.

So unfortunately the answer is no — you can't use the MQMs from Delta Amex cards toward your status challenge. But if you're successful at the challenge, the bonus MQMs from the Platinum and/or Reserve Delta Amex cards can help you move up extra elite status levels or requalify for status the next year. Just remember that after a successful status challenge, you still only have the MQMs you earned in the current year. Meaning if you challenge for Delta Silver and successfully fly 6,250 miles to keep that status after 90 days, you don't automatically get 25,000 MQMs for being Silver. You just get the status — you have to keep earning MQMs from where you left off.

Sorry you won't be able to use the Amex MQMs in this case, Tim, but good luck with the challenge and thanks for the question. If you're a TPG reader who'd like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at